Von Bek by Michaek Moorcock

Rahl Windsong

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I was at the library the other night, just kind of browsing, then I checked out Von Bek by Michael Moorcock and I have barely been able to put it down since! The story is about a man, Captain Von Bek, who's soul has been damned to Hell. He strikes a deal with Lucifer to release his soul if he can retrieve the Holy Grail. Lucifer thinks the Grail will cure the world's pain and if he can cure the world's pain perhaps God will notice him and begin the process towards salvation, Lucifer wants back into heaven

Excellent read I highly recommend it! :)

Rahl
 

fungi from Yuggoth

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Well, lots of people wrote of Conan the Barbarian, including Robert Jordan and Harry Turtledove. These were all pastiches though, and are, with a few exceptions, mostly trash. The originals were written by pulp maestro Robert E Howard during the thirties.

Michael Moorcock wrote of Elric, Corum, Hawkwind, Jerry C, and many others. But never Conan. :)
 

j d worthington

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fungi from Yuggoth said:
Well, lots of people wrote of Conan the Barbarian, including Robert Jordan and Harry Turtledove. These were all pastiches though, and are, with a few exceptions, mostly trash. The originals were written by pulp maestro Robert E Howard during the thirties.

Michael Moorcock wrote of Elric, Corum, Hawkwind, Jerry C, and many others. But never Conan. :)
Well, yes and no. Actually, he did write some Conan material in his early career, though I don't believe any of the actual stories have been published. He was asked by Ted Carnell to give him a sword and sorcery hero like Conan, so he wrote Conan. When Ted responded he was looking for something in the genre, but with a twist, Moorcock decided to go as different as he could, and thus Elric was born. He also scripted, with Roy Thomas, two issues of Marvel's Conan the Barbarian comic (#'s 14 and 15) bringing Conan and Elric together, along with Prince Gaynor the Damned and Xiombarg of Chaos. So -- he did and he didn't.
 

Fried Egg

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Von Bek has turned up in the book I am reading: "Dragon in the Sword". I haven't read any Von Bek stories before but I thought he was another manifestation of the eternal champion. However, that doesn't appear to be the case as he is a side kick to John Daker/Erekose who is the manifestation of the Eternal champion who is doomed with memories of his other manifestations.
 

j d worthington

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Well, F.E., you originally had it right. He is another aspect of the Champion (in fact, one could argue that that entire family are all aspects of the Champion). There are times when different aspects are brought together for particularly momentous occasions in the history of the multiverse (cf. Sailor on the Seas of Fate and The Vanishing Tower/The Sleeping Sorceress, for example)....

Incidentally, though, the von Bek in Dragon is not the same as that in The War Hound and the World's Pain. That one is an ancestor of the character seen in Dragon....
 

Connavar

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The War Hound and the World's Pain seems to be highly rated by Moorcock fans, people mention if often.

Von Bek family,series sounded different meaning must try for me.
 

j d worthington

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The War Hound and the World's Pain seems to be highly rated by Moorcock fans, people mention if often.

Von Bek family,series sounded different meaning must try for me.
Well, the "series" concerning the von Beks has more or less dominated most of Moorcock's work for the past 20 years or so, and has ranged from the pure fantasy of The War Hound and the World's Pain to the contemporary novel The Brothel in Rosenstrasse to the graphic novel Michael Moorcock's Multiverse, to that wonderful blending of sf, fantasy, horror, and the surreal novel, Blood (as well as its companion volumes Fabulous Harbours -- a story collection -- and The War Amongst the Angels), as well as several other volumes....
 

Connavar

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I knew about Blood in that recommendation thread but not that it was connected to Von Bek series.
 

Fried Egg

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Well, F.E., you originally had it right. He is another aspect of the Champion (in fact, one could argue that that entire family are all aspects of the Champion). There are times when different aspects are brought together for particularly momentous occasions in the history of the multiverse (cf. Sailor on the Seas of Fate and The Vanishing Tower/The Sleeping Sorceress, for example)....
I know of (some of) the occaisions you refer to but in those it was made quite clear that we had several manifestations of the eternal champion being dragged from their own realms and being thrown together to complete some objective.

In this book, it certainly doesn't give the impression that von Bek is another manifestation of the Champion.
 

j d worthington

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While it isn't made as obtrusive (i.e., there is not a direct statement to how unusual or dangerous it is for the different aspects of the Champion to be brought together, as there is in, say, The Sailor on the Seas of Fate), it is nonetheless the case. von Bek here is fighting the same sort of struggle in his world as the Champion in other incarnations does in theirs.

One thing to keep in mind: Just about all of Moorcock's protagonists are aspects of the Champion; it is his central metaphor through which he explores the human condition. This extends to his non-fantastic works as well as his fantasy and science fiction. Thus you have Jherek Carnelian of The Dancers at the End of Time as an aspect of the Champion, as well as Jerry Cornelius, Una Persson, Karl Glogauer, Konrad Arflane (of The Ice Schooner), The Rose, or even (in his own odd way) Maximilian Pyatnitski. The metaphor is just made more obvious in some cases than others. As for why some of these were not included in that "uniform edition" of the Champion cycle... there are several factors there, among them the fact that some of these books were more recent, or (as with the Pyat books) the cycle was not complete; while in other cases (such as the Cornelius books -- of which one was included in the British set though not in the American -- the reasoning is more obscure, but may simply come down to them being currently in print elsewhere.

At any rate, just about all of Moorcock's fiction belongs, in one way or another, to the cycle; just as nearly everything James Branch Cabell wrote before 1930 belongs to his Biography of the Life of Manuel, or the bulk of Honoré de Balzac's writing belongs to his Comédie Humaine....
 

rocketmonkey

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I found "the war hound and the world's pain" as a teenager and loved it! Always been a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and renaissance europe so the book combined all three. Moorcock's worlds are crying out for movie adaptations, though I fear they're a bit dark!
I concur: Warhound is one of my favourite Moorcock stories, and I have been waiting (like many) a number of years for a movie based upon the Eternal Champion series (most likely to be Elric, I guess).
 
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